Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Traveling Years

My family used to live in the family estate, on an island in the South of Caledon, but also had properties elsewhere: a palace in Steelhead, an apartment building and shops in New Babbage, a factory in Steeltopia, a private harbor in New Toulouse and country cottages in many other places. We can say I knew very well all the Victorian lands and Steamlands. To improve my knowledge of the world I wanted to visit different places.

My first destination was Antiquity and its seas. Antiquity is not totally different from the lands I was used to, but I was fascinated by the idea of meeting pirates. And indeed it was fun. Pirates are people that it is wise to stay away from when they are engaged in business, but nobody can deny they can make great drinking fellows and great friends (especially if you are wealthy enough to pay for all their drinks!). I sailed as a guest on board of several pirate ships and I also took part in some naval warfare practice. I visited other pirate areas, JabberwockBeek Haven (painfully lost in the recent great cataclysm), and the scary Armada. When the expectation arose that I would take part in some actual scavenging expedition, I decided it was time to move on.

Elves are rare in our society, but they were not uncommon to be met with in the dark forests of Winterfell where I grew up, so the Fantasy Lands were a natural destination of the next stage of my voyages. It was a fun and relaxing period. I slowly traveled the Fantasy Continent East to West, starting from the the lovely market of Faery Crossing, crossing the proper elven areas, (one cannot claim to know the spirit of the elves if one has not danced at the drum circle in ElvenGlen :) ) and all the way to the Isle of Wyrms, the land of the mighty dragons.

Many others have been the wonderful lands I discovered in my wanderings, where people lived their lives in many styles, but as more I traveled the more I heard stories and became curious about the big land masses known as Mainland.

I got a passage on a cargo airship and I was left on the shores of the so called Korean Canal, the portion of sea that separates the two branches of the Southern continent, near the village of Sternberg, where my mother's family came from. Sternberg was not so different from the places I had visited with it beautiful palace and its efficient underground network. Yet there was a very clear flavour that suggested that I was in a different world.
I soon moved inland and rented a small cottage in a little medieval village on the western branch of the continent to use as a base for my explorations. Mainland is amazing: it is so easy to discover the most incredible places near huge areas of wasteland. I traveled the continent North and South, East and West, and I met many friends and had some many remarkable adventures that shaped my experience. It was in this period that my latent passion for flight came to the surface and it was also during these years that I meet a guy that, years after my disappointment over Mordecai, I learned to truly call friend: Crotty. But these stories are worth their own chapter and will be told another time.

Not all the experiences have been so pleasant, and one of them, that will remain untold for the moment, forced me to move away from the Southern continent.

I moved to the oldest land of our world: Sansara, the original mainland. Sansara is a fascinating land: much less wild than the southern land and still so different from the countries of my childhood. So many different people and so many cultures all interleaved and living next to each other.

I worked for a while on the ferry connecting Sansara to the northern Atoll Continent. And after that I was for a while with the railroad company. I loved the trains. They reminded me so much of Caledon. I guess I was starting to become homesick.

This was about the time that I started to get messages from father about Harlow's behavior. My younger brother was on a dangerous path, spending more and more time with loose women and in gambling houses than in the family factory.

For a while I lived in Nautilus City, running a small seaplane service connecting the mainland with the far islands to the east of the Blake Sea. By that time flight had become my life and the idea to go back home and help Father run the business and work on new airship models I had started to fantasize about had a new appeal. One evening, after reading yet another letter from my father the decision was quickly taken: I shut down the seaplane service, packed and got on the first airship on its way to Caledon. I was full of enthusiasm and new ideas.

I did not know that as soon as I was home disaster would have occurred.

But this is for another time.


* Picture of the Seaplane by Lord Lisle, to whom go my thanks